The silver jubilee edition of the British Pair Go Championships was held, like last year, at the Red Lion in Hatfield. In order to make the top group up to eight, a non-qualifying pair was added as ghosts, but then another all male pair had to be added as further ghosts as one pair failed to arrive. This did not affect the results as the winners, like last year, were Natasha Regan and Matthew Cocke. The next three places were the same pairs as last too (but slightly different order) and the Fighting Spirit Prize was won this time by Anna Griffiths and Tony Atkins.
In the Handicap Section the new winners were youngsters Charlotte Bexfield and Alex Terry, second and third were as last year and the fighting spirit prize went to the youngest pair: Sophie Ellis and Oscar Selby.
The UK team remained unbeaten at the end of the 2014-2015 season to end top of the European C-League. They ended on 20 match points after 9 wins and 2 draws, and had won 33 out of 44 games.
The UK's last match was against Kazakhstan and all games were won by resignation. It looked for a while like the match was to be played early on the Sunday, but in the end only Tim Hunt's game was, the others (Andrew Simons, Sandy Taylor and Toby Manning) playing their games on the normal Tuesday evening.
In the battle for second place, both South Africa and Bulgaria killed the hopes of Croatia and Lithuania by winning their matches against Portugal and Cyprus respectively, both by four games to nil. This meant South Africa would be in the play-off against Switzerland.
Ireland beat Greece to achieve a respectable seventh place.
The third consecutive Scottish Open in Glasgow, and the second sponsored by the local Confucius Institute, saw 23 different players converge on Glasgow University.
After the dust had settled Tongzhou (Joe) Cai (3d Glasgow) remained undefeated on 6 wins to take custody of the cup, plus £50 cash and chocolate truffles.
Below the bar, the 4-8 kyu division saw a tussle for the prize between local clubmates Niall Paterson (5k) and Joseff Thomas (8k).
This year's Challengers' League, played between the top 8 available players coming out of the Candidates' Tournament, took place at the Goddard Arms in Swindon on the second May Bank Holiday weekend. Paul Barnard and Nick Wedd kindly officiated the proceedings.
Andrew Kay (the reigning British Champion) won all of his games to lead the field, followed by Andrew Simons who won all of his games except for his game against Andrew Kay. Charles Hibbert, playing in his first Challengers' League, finished with 4 wins in third place. Tim Hunt and Alistair Wall were next, with 3 wins each, followed by Richard Hunter and Harry Fearnley on 2 wins each. James Hutchinson completed the field with one win.
Being the top two players at the end of the Challengers' League, Andrew Kay and Andrew Simons will now go on to play for this year's British Championship title.
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Bob Hitchens reports:
I heard at the weekend of the death of Neil Stein.
I realise that members probably do not know Neil, but some players who were around in the 1960s will.
He was a founder member of the BGA and helped create the BGA’s first bank balance of any size when he recognised the possibility of compensation from University College London for cancelling our booking for the first European Congress to be held in Britain. That opened up a lot of possibilities for the BGA.
When I came on the scene he was the strongest British Go player at 1 kyu. John Barrs was 1 dan with perhaps an honorary element in it, but Stein had the beating of him.
Des Cann won the Bracknell Tournament for the first time. This was hopefully good preparation for his trip to the World Amateur in June. Others of the 26 players winning all three games were Roger Daniel (5k London) and David Storkey (7k Exeter). Arundel won the team prize, Francis Roads the 13x13 on a tie break, Jil Segerman the problem-solving competition and Pauline Bailey the caption contest.
The Spring 2015 edition of the British Go Journal, number 171, is now available in the members' area as a PDF and should be soon arriving in the post with members (except for electronic only members).
The UK held on for a draw in their 10th game in the C-League to win promotion to the B-League with one match remaining. Des Cann was the last to finish after a long game against Iceland's Hallbjorn Gudmundsson, but won by 16.5 to tie the match. Earlier Jonathan Gallimore quickly forced Benedikt Birgisson to resign, but Chris Bryant lost by resignation to Thorbergur Olafsson and then Sandy Taylor lost to Olafur Siguroarson by 3.5.
Second placed South Africa only managed a draw too against Lithuania, but Bulgaria beat Portugal to be placed just behind South Africa on boards won tie-break. Also vying for the play-off place are Croatia and Lithuania who are only one match point behind the other two.
Following on from Chris Volk winning it last year, the winner this year was German 3 kyu Tobias Ungerer from Cambridge University, who won 4 out of 5 games. His only loss was to Bogdan Ghica who came second on tie break from Richard Mullens and James Murray.
The tournament was generously sponsored by an anonymous benefactor who wishes to support the Bar-Low as a great way to encourage and benefit developing players and so the winner went home with a prize of £30. The second biggest prize was awarded to young Alex Terry (10k), who also won 4. Bob Dryden had estimated his grade at 10k, but won all his games and generously declined a cash prize.